When travelling, you are always pressured to ensure that you see as much as possible in the country that you are visiting. Many of us do the infamous google searches and scour the travel websites to ensure that we know exactly what we must see on our precious journeys. Hence the concept of an organised tour is always the top priority on everyone’s list. And that’s all well and good.
But there are tours and there are tours. There are those that herd you into a bus with like-minded tourists whose main objective is to quickly visit, take as many photos as possible, and put a check on their vacation list. Those tours include a guide whose primary objective of the day is to ensure that no one gets left behind. Heads are counted, endless reminders of where and when to meet, brisk walks from one location to another, and heads are counted over and over again.
As the tourist, you hustle and push past your fellow tourists, albeit very politely and with a smile, to try to get to the best spot first so that your photos aren’t filled with loads and loads of people, heads with hats or cameras in the air trying to record what they are passing, because be assured, you’re not really seeing anything. You will probably view these photos in the quiet of your home days after your vacation and be just as wowed as your neighbour who wasn’t even on the vacation with you.
Nonetheless you rush through the day from spot to spot, trying to hear what your tour guide is telling you about the history and importance of the site, only really focusing on the moment he says – “Now remember you have 15 minutes. We meet on the other side of this tunnel in 15 minutes. Be on time or we miss the train.” After that you are only focussed on 15 minutes and not missing the train.
Then there are your own tours. Where you choose a couple of places, do the obligatory google search and travel site browsing, and then say to yourself – “Well that looks nice. We’ll go there, browse the neighbourhood, revel in the sights, taste the local cuisine, sample the regional wines, maybe take a swim, but oh, definitely relax and enjoy the moment.”
Cinque Terre is well worth the visit. My recommendation? Do it on your own time. You will find that your experience will be very rewarding, as you will have come away with a great sense of satisfaction and peace knowing that you’ve journeyed through and truly experienced, one of the most beautiful territories in Italy.